Effects of intermittent feeding of tylosin phosphate during the finishing period on feedlot performance, carcass characteristics, antimicrobial resistance, and incidence and severity of liver abscesses in steers.
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Liver abscesses (LA) are a source of economic loss for feedlot cattle feedlots, and the 2017 veterinary feed directive has restricted further use of tylosin phosphate to prevention and control of LA. Our objective was to evaluate effects of intermittent tylosin phosphate feeding on incidence and severity of LA in feedlot cattle and presence of total antimicrobial-resistant Enterococcus spp. Steers (n = 312, 411.4 6.71 kg) were blocked by initial BW and randomly assigned to a treatment group. Treatments included a negative control group (no tylosin phosphate throughout the finishing period), a positive control group (tylosin phosphate fed continuously throughout the finishing period), and a group that received tylosin phosphate off-label by feeding the drug on a repeated intermittent basis (1 wk on, 2 wk off). Steers were housed in 24 soil-surfaced pens with 13 steers per pen. Body weights of cattle were obtained every 28 d and at the end of 119 d the steers were weighed and harvested at a commercial abattoir. Fecal samples were collected on days 0, 21, and 118 to characterize antimicrobial-resistant Enterococcus spp. Total LA percentage was greater (P = 0.012) for the no tylosin phosphate treatment compared with the other treatments, but did not differ between the continuous tylosin phosphate treatment and the intermittently fed tylosin phosphate treatment (P = 0.716). No difference was observed among treatments for ADG (P = 0.21), DMI (P = 0.28), or G:F (P = 0.75). Marbling score was lower (P = 0.022) for tylosin phosphate treatment when compared with both intermittent treatment and continuous tylosin phosphate treatment. Enterococcus spp. bacterial counts did not differ by treatment group over time (P > 0.05); however, there was a strong period effect for macrolide resistance among all groups (P < 0.01), suggesting an important environmental component as cattle were first placed in pens and then progressed through the feeding period. We conclude that feeding tylosin phosphate intermittently during the finishing phase decreases the total percentage of LA and maintains feedlot performance and carcass characteristics to the same extent as feeding tylosin phosphate throughout the finishing phase; furthermore, we hypothesize that enteric antimicrobial resistance is a result of longer term antibiotic usage in a particular environment rather than a direct short-term result of the treatment during any given feeding period.